It’s been a busy evening for Blizard news following the latest investor call. The big non-business news is that Diablo Immortal has now been pushed back to 2022.
Our community has been a key collaborator in helping us mold the vision we have for this title. Through observations across community channels, based on our tests with many global participants, and seeking input from our most active players, we’ve been working towards several improvements for Diablo Immortal.
Following feedback provided by test participants of the Closed Alpha, our team has been tuning core and endgame features. For example, we’re iterating on PvP content like the Cycle of Strife to make it more accessible, alongside late-game PvE content like the Helliquary to make it more engaging. We’re also working to provide controller support for those who want to play our game in a different way. However, these changes and additional opportunities to improve our gameplay experience will not be realized in the 2021 timeframe we had previously communicated. So, the game is now planned for release in the first half of 2022, which will allow us to add substantial improvements to the whole game.
The update also includes further information on what they are now focusing on.
We want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the game systems we’re focusing on in this quest to make Diablo Immortal more polished. These changes will be implemented in the future, as we plan for our next Beta testing milestone.
PLEASE NOTE: Diablo Immortal is still in-development. Game content described below is not final and subject to change.
PLAYER VS. ENVIRONMENT (PVE)
We saw players yearned for more long-term PvE goals and activities that enriched the social experience of Diablo Immortal. So, we’ll be adding new PvE-centric Raids in the Helliquary system. Helliquary Bosses are now designed as a challenge for raids of 8 players to overcome.
Additionally, we heard players wanted more meaningful interaction with Bounties, so we’ll be making adjustments that make the Bounties system more engaging and fruitful for players who actively accomplish these challenges. For example, whenever you accept 4 bounties they will all be for the same zone.
Many players shared concerns that they didn’t find reward in pushing the higher Challenge Rifts, so Challenge Rifts will now reward new upgrade materials that can’t be obtained any other way. Now those with the gear, skill, and zeal to face these obstacles head-on will be the most rewarded.
PLAYER VS. PLAYER (PVP)
The Closed Alpha introduced the Battleground, a place where heroes could test their mettle. There’s a lot of promise with the Battleground system, but we believe more can be done to make this experience more enjoyable. We’ll evaluate matchmaking, earning rankings, class balance, time to kill, and other defining elements to improve the Battleground in Diablo Immortal.
Additionally, the Cycle of Strife was first introduced in the Closed Alpha. This endgame faction-based PvP is where players who pledge allegiance to the Shadows clash with the Immortals of Sanctuary. From forming a Dark House to rallying a PvPvE raid, the Cycle of Strife has been rampant with rivalries and faction pride. We’ll continue optimizing this feature so more players feel worthy for the quest of the Eternal Crown.
Your enthusiasm for wanting to play Diablo Immortal with a controller is coming; but we’re still working through the challenges of adapting the touch screen controls to a controller seamlessly. Making our game more accessible is top of mind, and we’ll share more progress on this front as we approach the Beta in the future.
In-general, on the gear front, we’re evaluating more ways to make top tier and legendary gear exciting and sought after, especially for players who’ve surpassed max level on their character(s). After hitting level cap, Paragon levels increase your character’s power. In Diablo Immortal, we want this end-game progression to be worthwhile, offering unique bonuses in the form of stat boosts and special perks. However, having a higher Paragon should also reap better rewards. We are implementing a system that enable players with higher Paragon levels or players taking on higher difficulties to receive more powerful items.
Furthermore, Closed Alpha introduced a system to discourage playing the game for a potentially unhealthy number of hours per week – a “weekly XP cap.” We learned a lot from this system and are making some improvements to make the system less harsh on those who reach the cap and are more generous to those trying to catch up. Firstly, we are introducing bonus XP gain for players who play less often. Secondly, we are replacing the weekly XP cap with a global cap that increases over time. This allows players more flexibility with their playtime while also allowing latecomers to a server a viable path to catch up.
Becoming more powerful by both skills and gear is a hallmark of the Diablo legacy, and we want these mechanics in Diablo Immortal to be no exception.